Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maxis showcase "Tomorrow is here"

Maxis showcase their smart home system at Mandarin Oriental Hotel together with their AGM (Annual General Meeting) event.

Basically it is fiber optic broadband, home gateway, TV set-top box, telephone, tablet and TV, integrated together.

They name it with the title, "Tomorrow is here".

The "tomorrow" that Maxis is showing is already here, nothing new or surprising. The existing is even better.

Let's go through one by one, what Maxis try to show us on "Tomorrow is here".

Fiber optic broadband. Is fast, everyone likes fast network, but how fast it will be? It can stream youtube video. I don't think you need fiber optic to stream youtube video, copper wire can do that. If the fiber optic broadband price is same with copper wire, why not?

Maxis home gateway. Is a central hub connect and communicate with your TV, set-top box, phones, video camera and act as an Internet Wifi access point. It can share files as network storage. I know there is a lot of media player like AC Ryan media player, HiMedia player can act as a network storage as well.

Tablet. Is a touch screen (but not multi-touch) device, capable for Internet browsing, play games, video call. Future can access facebook and twitter, stream your set-top box TV program.

Is the application on the tablet available through online download and update? No, current tablet running on Linux platform (I notice it printed with a PCCW name, looks like this), future product will run on Android. Then you can download from Android Market.

PS. PCCW, Pacific Century CyberWorks, is Hong Kong telecom provider.

Video call. This should be one the interesting function that attract the public, because you can see each other face to face. Video call is not new, Skype already doing it for years, with good voice quality. Apple Steve Jobs show FaceTime on iPhone 4, with duo camera and zero setup.

Set-top box. Allow TV program recording, even with pre-set recording schedule. It should be Astro satellite service only.

Call notification on TV. When someone call your phone, it will show a notification message on the TV, but this is not ready for showcase yet.

Games. You can play games on the TV. This is not new as well, your Wii, X-Box, PS3 or other game devices may be more interesting.

Online shopping. Maxis already partner with PayPal, online payment should not be a problem. Will be available in the future. If you already have an Internet and a browser, you can do online shopping now.

May be I didn't cover all the features of Maxis smart home system, this is what they show me on "Tomorrow is here".

Maxis (and related company) is ready to provide mobile network, TV program, but for a better smart home system, we need more than that. It still lacking of software and services.

Maxis smart home system doesn't integrated well with third party devices like your lovely Apple iPad. Maxis people told me that they support better if system is all provided by Maxis. You know it is not true.

Why I need two tablet? One Maxis table which can only connect to facebook and twitter in the future, another iPad which can not connect to Maxis set-top box. Just write an application on iPad which able to connect to the set-top box, gave users two choices. No one will thrown away their multi-touch Apple iPad for a Maxis tablet.

Maxis can not provide everything, Maxis need to partner with the others, integrate with other software and services. If Maxis insist of providing product and services with their own brand only, then Maxis should provide a Maxis Faces to replace facebook services.

Good try, Maxis. There is no good and complete solution for smart home system yet.

There is nothing new that surprise me. Broadband, home gateway, TV set-top box, telephone, tablet, video call, IP TV, all are existing products. There is no new services.

Maxis' "Tomorrow is here" looks so yesterday.

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